Lynda.com is one of the net’s most popular video learning services.
I joined Lynda.com a year ago for 30 days to finish a college course. I also wanted to learn WordPress so I could start a blog like this one.
Back then, I wrote a detailed review describing my experiences with this online learning service.
More recently, I rejoined Lynda.com to learn about analytics and self-publishing. In this updated Lynda.com review, I answer the question: is it worth it?
What You Get for Your Free Trial
In 2013, I signed up to a 7 day free trial of Lynda.com. before upgrading to a paid account. It cost me just under EUR19 for a month’s access. For this, you can watch any of Lynda.com’s 3000+ courses and learn on your computer or mobile device.
Update: Lynda.com now offer a 10 day free trial. Lynda.com offers a premium version for just under EUR28 per month. This premium service gives users access to all of Lynda.com’s source files and lets users save videos for offline access.
Lynda.com also offers a discount if you subscribe for the year. Every time I logged into Lynda.com,
I was prompted to upgrade to the premium service, and the instructors for several of the courses made reference to it. I didn’t use the premium service, but these materials would be useful for coders who need assets that they can download while they work.
Isn’t This What YouTube is For?
Prior to using Lynda.com, I did what most people do when they want to learn something digital: I watched YouTube. The problem is YouTube videos vary greatly in quality and it’s difficult to find consistently useful content (unless you’re into videos of cats).
And anytime I watch a YouTube video, I end up scrubbing through the clip searching for those five seconds relevant to my project. When I pay for a premium online learning service like this, I expect it to save me time.
What Did I Watch?
During my time with Lynda.com, I watched courses about WordPress, Powerpoint and Photoshop.
Some of the courses run for over five hours, but it’s possible to work through elements of a course in one sitting. This is because the authors break down their courses into a series of lessons normally between five and ten minutes long.
The trainers I watched were informative, entertaining and well prepared. It was enough to simply listen to some trainers but for others, I had to watch and work alongside them in Photoshop or in my code editor. And I even took notes – something I never do while watching YouTube.
It’s All in the Playlists
I created several different playlists and saved bookmarks for future reference. I also alternated between watching videos in standard or high-definition, depending on my internet connection. Lynda.com provides a course history and gives badges when you complete a course.
Over the past year, I’ve cancelled and renewed my membership several times (depending on life commitments), and I was encouraged to find I could pick up from where I left off.
What Did I Learn?
I originally joined Lynda.com because I had to design a website using Bootstrap for a digital media college course. I was new to Bootstrap and I didn’t know where to begin. Jen Kramer walked me through Bootstrap step-by-step, but then I came across a huge problem.
Her tutorial video was for Bootstrap 2.0 whereas I was using Bootstrap 3.0. Without getting into the specifics, Bootstrap 3.0 is rather different to Bootstrap 2.0. And the various 2.0 guides on Lynda.com and elsewhere don’t directly apply.
After reading Twitter only released Bootstrap 3.0 in August of 2013, I accepted it would take Lynda.com some time to respond.
So, I resigned myself to desperately posting code on Stack Exchange. Then, half way through my project Lynda.com released a comprehensive guide to Bootstrap 3.0, and they even responded to my tweet about it.
Another Lynda.com gem is the Monday Productivity Pointers. The author, Jess Stratton, offers useful tips for apps like Wunderlist, Kickstarter, IFTTT and so on every Monday.
Lynda.com also employ a number of industry experts, notably Deke McClelland, who has recorded a number of excellent tutorials for Lynda.com about the Adobe suite. If you want to master Photoshop, his videos are a great entry point for bloggers who want to visually polish their website.
Learning On a Mobile Device
In February 2014, Lynda.com released a new Android app and it looks as professional as anything Lynda.com has released to date. Learning on a mobile device works if you’re watching informational business courses. I mostly watched WordPress guides on an iPhone and on a HTC One, during my commute to work.
These WordPress videos taught me how to create a blog like this one and how to fix it when it breaks. If you’re studying coding, an application or practical skills, it’s better to take these courses on your computer, as you can practice while you watch the video
How Does Lynda.com Help Me Write?
If you’re new to Become a Writer Today, you may be wondering why I’m reviewing Lynda.com or concerning myself with online learning. Well, I’m always interested in learning new skills like how to convert speech to text or improve the design of my site.
In short, it doesn’t help me write directly. However, I learnt how to manage WordPress and create images for Become a Writer Today by taking their online WordPress and Photoshop courses. I also picked up some pointers about designing for the web.
These skills are useful for anyone who writes a blog because you can’t create digital content without considering how it looks. Prior to self-publishing my book, I also watched a number of courses about self-publishing.
These gave me the basic skills I needed to create a digital version of A Handbook for the Productive Writer. I also picked up some tips for marketing and distributing an eBook online.
More recently, I watched a number of Google analytics online learning courses on Lynda.com. I love analytics because it helps me understand what is going on behind the scenes of my website. This information also helps me write better content for readers of Become a Writer Today because I can see what performs and what tanks.
Is Lynda.com Worth it?
Lynda.com’s turnaround of a Bootstrap 3.0 video shows how quickly they update their materials. For this reason alone, it’s worth the price of admission. They also regularly email to say when they’ve released new courses of interest. I’ve have taken a number of other online learning courses that are far more expensive than this site.
The materials and Lynda.com are first-rate and affordable (in comparison). If you have time to learn and you put the work in, it’s money well-spent. I’d still like a way of asking questions via a forum or a comments section at the end of the videos. Most other online learning sites have these resources and these changes would make learning with Lynda.com more interactive.
Watching video is a passive form of learning, no matter how good the video. Since I first wrote this review, Lynda.com has released many more business videos, but there’s still an emphasis on digital apps and tools. If you don’t use digital apps regularly, you could investigate a free service like Alison.com or try a local night class.
My recommendation is to take out a 10 day free trial of Lynda.com. and try online learning for yourself. Alternatively, if you take out their annual plan, Lynda.com will give you 60 days free membership. Do you have questions about my review of Lynda.com or online learning services like this?
Please let me know in the comments section below.
– High-quality digestible materials
– Engaging industry experts
– Frequently updated content
– You can learn for free if you put the work in
– Emphasis on digital apps may put off some
This is an updated version of a Lynda.com review that I published in 2013